Genetic Mutations Don't Always Determine Disease Development
It's not just about nature; it's also about interactions. A new study on genetic mutations has shown how these variances don't always determine whether or not a person develops a disease. The findings could allow researchers to better predict whether or not a pre-disposed individual will have a disease.
Like Us on Facebook
Scientists have known for a while that genetic mutations can modify each other's effects and that subtle differences in the genome can affect how mutations are manifested. Called a wild type genetic background, these variances make all of the difference when it comes to disease development. That's why the researchers decided to examine how common it is for wild type genetic background to alter the way genetic mutations interact with one another.
The researchers used the fruit fly genome to take a closer look at wild type genetic background. They focused on the insects' wings and a genetic mutation that alters them. This allowed them to examine exactly how often wild type genetic background influenced the mutation.
In the end, they found that this background affected the outcomes of interactions between genetic mutations about 75 percent of the time. This has major implications in how scientists construct genetic networks, which are maps of how genes interact with each other.
"It may be that some crucial portions of genetic networks are missing," said Ian Dworkin, one of the researchers, in a news release. "It also seems that network descriptions are more fluid than we thought."
The findings reveal that, in an example like breast cancer, every woman's genetic background is likely influencing how the mutation is expressed. This, in turn, causes different disease outcomes. In addition, the study may also explain why some people benefit from a specific treatment for a disease while others do not.
Currently, the researchers plan to further investigate the phenomenon. They aim to examine the intricacies of exactly what's happening to understand which genes are interacting and how they influence each other.
The findings are published in the journal PLOS Genetics.